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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

128                                LIFE  OF
entirely new view of the coxmtry was acquired through
this bold a,nd penetrating traveller, who made a
large number of independent latitude inoflKuroiuonts,
and who obtained varied information on trawlliug
routes and local circumstances from travelled Tartars,
'Bulgarians, and Taschkents, as well as from the
Russian officers. The inner, central part of Asin was
fnot,, as had been supposed, an immense agglotnoration
of mountains., nor an uninterrupted tablo land, for
Humboldt established that this part of tho worl^l
was crossed from east to west by four mountain-
systems (by the Altai., which ends westward in. tho
Kirghiz district, by the Himmelsborg, by Kuenliirij
and by the Himalaya), which have exercised authen-
ticated influence on the historical migrations of
nations. And thus Humboldt discovered a volcanic
territory in the centre of Asia, which is 1000 to 144)0
miles distant from the ocean, and which presents a
surface of 2500 geographical miles.
The second volume of the "Asiatic Fragments"
contains, beside the description of tho twelve
routes, " Observations on the Temperature and tho
Hygrometric Condition of the Atmosphere in some
portions of Asia, and Investigations into the Causes
of the Deflection of .the Isothermic Lines/*-—i+ e.9
the imaginary lines which unite all points on the
earth of equal mean temperature. In this volume we
have important contributions to a climatic knowledge
of that country, and in it are indicated also the causes
which produce the deflection of the isothermic lines
from the parallel circles.* These results, based on
numerous astronomic and magnetic measurements,
throw an entirely new ligM on this branch of science,
and are again, closely connected with the results of
the former American journey, as Humboldt had there
also construed the terrestrial laws from similar phe-
nomena in the old and new world.
* The parallel circles run parallel with the equator, and the meaxx
animal temperature generally decreases with their increasing breadth
—the approach to the poles.